The Origins of “OK”

The Origins of “OK”


The phrase “OK” is everywhere, but where did it get its start? A new book tackles its history, and NPR interviews the author, Allan Metcalf. The phrase originated with a few newspaper editors in 1839. “They had a lot of abbreviations that they were using and made up on the spot and thought they were terrifically funny,” says Metcalf. “And OK was an abbreviation for ‘All Correct.’” The phrase gathered momentum during the 1840 re-election campaign of Martin Van Buren. “He got the nickname Old Kinderhook, and early in 1840, OK clubs sprung up with the slogan, ‘OK is OK.’ So taking that funny little word and making it a mainstay of the political conversation in 1840, suddenly OK was way OK.” All right then.

Comment: Wiki: Okay. Wiki suggests that it is a Choctaw language loanword.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting note on the "All Mixed Up" song by Peter Paul and Mary (see Wiki article)

    Lyrics - All Mixed Up

    You know
    this language that we speak,

    is part german
    , latin and part greek

    Celtic and arabic all
    in a heap,

    well amended by the people in the

    The Choctaw gave us the word

    "vamose" is a word from Mexico

    And all of this is a hint I suspect of
    what comes next.


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